In response to the French digital tax, the US government is considering an increase in tariffs on French imports. "The French tax is not compatible with the prevailing principles of international taxation," said US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. The tax discriminate against American companies like Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook.
The government in Washington threatens with punitive tariffs of up to 100 percent on imports worth 2.4 billion US dollars (the equivalent of about 2.2 billion euros). Lighizer has published a list of French cheeses such as Roquefort, as well as yoghurt, sparkling wine, cosmetics and handbags.
The punitive duties could therefore be due from mid-January. Lighthizer also announced that it would review similar taxes in Austria, Italy and Turkey.
Conclusion of USTR's Investigation Under Section 301 into France's Digital Services Taxhttps: //t.co/r9XR6aZj5u pic.twitter.com/K56rbAxeDI- USTR (@USTradeRep) December 2, 2019
US President Donald Trump had already described the digital tax as "unfair" in the past and threatened France with punitive tariffs on wine. In July, Lighthizer launched an investigation (the final report can be found here in the original). At the G7 summit in Biarritz in August, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that Trump wanted to forego sanctions for the time being.
The so-called Gafa tax - named after the initial letters of the Internet companies Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple - is expected to bring France around 400 million euros this year and about 650 million in the coming year. Economics Minister Bruno Le Maire had only made clear on Monday morning that the French government would stick to the tax. France would never "give up" the tax, he said on the radio station France Inter.
Macron and Trump will meet in person on Tuesday. At 3pm, they are scheduled to meet at the NATO summit in London.